No. 18 Men's Tennis Knocked Off By No. 12 Duke
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky men's tennis team had a 2-1 lead over the No. 12 Duke Blue Devils on Monday afternoon, before the Blue Devils were able to take claim of the final four singles matches that completed and collect a 5-2 win over the Wildcats at the Boone Tennis Center in Lexington.
Duke had control of the doubles point for most of the duration, as the Blue Devils got wins on courts one and three to secure the point and the 1-0 lead in the match. The first doubles match to finish was Bruno Semenzato and Chris Mengel defeating UK's freshman pair of Trey Yates and Jake Stefanik 6-0 on court three. The doubles point was then later clinched by Raphael Hemmeler and Nicolas Alvarez who were able to rally from a 3-0 and 4-1 hole to beat UK's Beck Pennington and Kevin Lai, 6-4 on court one.
In singles, both Pennington and William Bushamuka earned the biggest wins of their young careers, and they were the first two singles matches to finish on the day. Pennington, the junior from Bowling Green, Ky., earned a straight-sets 6-2, 6-4 win on court one over No. 36 Jason Tahir of Duke. The win for Pennington comes as his third of the season and first-ever win on court No. 1 over a major-conference team. The junior broke at 3-2 in the second set, and served out the final game with two aces to notch the straight-set win.
Kentucky would then take a 2-1 lead over Duke when Bushamuka took down his first ranked opponent of his career, as he knocked off No. 112 Bruno Semenzato on court three in straight sets. Bushamuka was trailing 5-4 in the opening set and facing a must-win game, and trailing 0-30 in that game. He then rallied to win the final three games of the set, breaking serve twice, and taking the opening frame, 7-5. In the second set, Bushamuka rallied to win 6-1 and collect the 2-1 lead for the Wildcats.
Duke would tie the score quickly as Kevin Lai fell to No. 103 Raphel Hemmeler in straight sets at 6-3, 6-4 on court four. Lai was down an early break in the second set before rallying to get things back on serve at 3-3. Then, Lai was broken for the third time in the match and fell in straight sets after suffering the service break.
Duke would take its second lead of the day at 3-2 as Jerry Lopez fell in a tight three setter to No. 18 Nicolas Alvarez, the highest-ranked Blue Devil. Lopez fought from 3-5 down to win the opening set in a tiebreak before being broken two times in the second set to drop that frame 6-2. In the third set, Lopez again was trailing 3-5 with Alvarez serving and Lopez broke for 5-4 and a chance for 5-5. In the deuce point, Lopez dropped the point, and the match, 6-4 in the third.
The Blue Devils clinched the match when Trey Yates lost 6-3, 6-4 on court five. Yates broke at 3-4 in the second set and was serving for 5-5, but lost his serve again and Duke improved to 2-0 on the season.
Kentucky will be hosting ITA Kick-Off Weekend beginning on Friday with No. 28 Penn State at 1 p.m. ET.
No. 12 Duke 5, No. 18 Kentucky 2
Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 19, 2015
Doubles: (Order of finish: 3, 1*)
1- Raphael Hemmeler/Nicolas Alvarez (Duke) def. Beck Pennington/Kevin Lai (UK) 6-4
2- Jerry Lopez/William Bushamuka (UK) led Jason Tahir/Josh Levine (Duke) 5-3 (DNF)
3- Bruno Semenzato/Chris Mengel (Duke) def. Jake Stefanik/Trey Yates (UK) 6-0
Singles: (Order of finish: 1, 3, 4, 2, 5*, 6)
1- No. 96 Beck Pennington (UK) def. No. 36 Jason Tahir (Duke) 6-2, 6-4
2- No. 18 Nicolas Alvarez (Duke) def. Jerry Lopez (UK) 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-4
3- William Bushamuka (UK) def. No. 112 Bruno Semenzato (Duke)
4- No. 103 Raphel Hemmeler (Duke) def. Kevin Lai (UK) 6-3, 6-4
5- Chris Mengel (Duke) def. Trey Yates (UK) 6-3, 6-4
6- Josh Levine (Duke) def. Jake Stefanik (UK) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (7)
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